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Hi I'm new here :)

I'm new here and can truly use some advice and help please? I have a degenerative disc in the L4-L5 section of my lower back and have battled with this for 6 years now. I was working before I got diagnosed and that took about 3 years to find the right doctor to get a diagnosis and anyway I had to stop working because I kept falling all the time. I have good days and bad days and recently I've been thinking about trying to get back to work but my only problem is some times I can't stand or sit for long periods of time without major pain in my back and not able to walk without falling. It doesn't happen all the time but it does happen a lot of times and some times I can tell its coming and other times not so much :( I'm trying to figure out whether I should push myself and just hope and pray for good days if I'm able to find a job and get back to work or try to apply for disability? A lot of people I know think I should just push myself no matter what because my hubby and I need the extra income and they know we need it but I seriously think I'm making myself worse. What do ya'll think?


  • RangerRRanger on da rangePosts: 805
    You need to find out why you are always falling and that needs to be addressed. I had similar issues before my first cervical fusion almost 7 years ago and never had a problem since. I just know from experience you need to follow up on that to prevent permanent damage.
    Take care,
  • Hi,

    Glad you found this website- it's helped me a lot. Reading your post, the first thing I thought was, I wonder what she thinks about going back to work? I don't know your whole story, obvoiusly, but my gut reaction is that it sounds like you might need more time. What have your doctors said about working? What type of work do you do? There is just so many different variables.
    I work in social work, and I have been off work for about six months. It started with complications from the pain pump surgery, and that resulted in me getting approved time off work, returning, then being forced to leave again because I was unable to sit, stand, and get around to different clients home. I pushed myself too hard, and I don't know if it has resulted in more damage or not. Right now, I have been applying for part time jobs, but I'm not sure that I could do that. I want to try though, not only for the money, but also for my mental health- it can be hard to have so much free time, especially when you have chronic pain.
    But remember, this is my story- ask your gut what you think you should do. The tricky thing with chronic pain is that it is so different for each person. Looking at your post, you express that you are making yourself worse- how so? More pain? Pain in new areas?
    Good luck!
    2000- spinal fusion, complete spine due to scoliosis
    2012- pain began, started treatment for chronic pain
    2013- install of pain pump, procedures to address complications
    2014-blood patch, spinal fluid leak
  • http://www.spine-health.com/forum/announcements/spine-health-announcements/welcome-message-resource

    Have you ever consulted with a spine surgeon for a real evaluation and treatment? A diagnosis of DDD, or degenerative disc disease is something that almost all of the population on the planet will have if they are over the ages of 21 or so......it can be very, very mild, to very severe. The issue that I would be concerned about, is why you are falling?
    DDD is generally not a reason for approval of disability , since it is not considered to be a finding of any medical significance unless it is severe for your age.
    I would suggest that you start by getting an accurate update on your spine condition, and then find out what options are available to treat it.




  • I've been to an Orthopedic dr and had an x-ray and an MRI done on my back and the MRI didn't show anything but the x-ray showed I have a degenerative disc in the L4-L5 section of my lower back on the left side and that is the reason why I'm having a very hard time walking a lot of times. Cervical fusion what is that? Haven't been able to follow up on that last appointment that I had due to lack of money but hopefully will get to soon. Thanks!
  • Hello to everyone. I'm pretty new to all this and truly appreciate having a support network.
    I had L4-S1 fused in 1989. No screws or rods. Failed union. Spondy grade 2 , severe facet arthrosis, severe DDD, central stenosis and severe foraminal stenosis. Chronic muscle spasms. Not much radiculopathy thank god. Just got 3rd surgical consult after several years of doing all the conservative options. RFA, injections, etc
    Dr says I need Alif L3/L4. L4/L5. Then post fusion L4-pelvis. Because L4/l5 is bone on bone he has to go into pelvis. I didn't ask him exactly what that meant but will at next visit. This is huge surgery and don't see many examples to compare this to. Has anyone had this kind of 360 and is it considered 3 level fusion. Looking for support and experiences. Thx
  • Hi,

    I'm glad I found it to as I've been needing to talk to other people who are going through the same back problems as me and value the support, encouragement and any advice given. Glad this website has helped you alot that's good :) What I think about going back to work is I have very mixed feelings about it. I want to go back to work because of alot of different reasons such as helping contribute to my husband's and mine's bills and such and I do miss working. I didn't think I would but I do. My whole story starts with that I used to work at a toy store about 6 years ago and everything was going fine and then out of the blue one day I just was standing there and lost my balance like I couldn't stand or walk without feeling like I was going to fall and had to leave early. Well this kept happening on and off for a few days I'd have a bad day and then a few days would be good and so forth and I went to different doctors to try to find out what was going on. I had various blood tests done and so forth but no answers came for me yet and at the time I was engaged planning a wedding as well. In addition to all this the toy store I was working at well the company went bankrupt and had to shutdown so I just focused on planning our wedding and then after some months passed after getting married my husband and I decided it was time for me to get back out there and find another job so I did this time with a grocery store. At first everything was fine and then the same thing happened. I kept going to more doctors had x-rays and an MRI done and a spinal tap done (had a terrible experience with that) and still no answers. Had to quit my job at the grocery store back in 2009 due to medical reasons and sadly haven't worked since then. Finally came across the right dr (an orthopedic dr) last year and he ran an X-ray on me as well as another MRI and well MRI didn't show anything but the X-ray showed my degenerative disc and that I have some scholosis in my back and neck something about if I remember correctly that my back is to curved and that my neck is to straight and so that was the reason I'm falling most of the time. My dr wanted me to have an epidural done but not sure of that as I had a terrible experience with a spinal tap before and my understanding is an epidural is similar to that? So since I declined the epidural the dr then prescribed some meds for me and some back exercises. I was prescribed three different medicines but truthfully I don't like taking them very much as they make me groggy, drowsy, and make me feel out of it if that makes sense? I'm not sure if I need any more time 4 years and some months of not working. That's already alot of time right there isn't it? My dr told me as far as going back to work that yes it should be possible provided I could get my stamina back and not have to use my walker and/or cane to get around and that when I try to get back out there that my job would need to be a sit down job as I shouldn't have a job that requires me to stand and walk alot. Sorry to hear you had complications from your pain pump surgery. I pray I don't have to have surgery truthfully surgery scares me so much because I've never had any surgeries done before. I know what you mean sounds like we are in the same boat. I have also been applying for part time jobs to and I do to want to try as well but some days are just so bad for me with not being able to walk without falling and the pain I have in my lower back on the left side and because I've fallen on my left leg so much my leg hurts bad the spasms are awful and the other day the right side of my back started hurting me to. I'm not sure I can do part time job either I just don't know. Yeah I to not only want a job for the money but also for my mental health as well to much free time is driving me crazy. Making myself worse in the fact that yes I do have pain in new areas now my right side hurts as well. Also pushing myself to get up and walk alot of times without the aid of my walker or cane so I can try and get stronger and get back to work and do something productive when I'm hurting or wobbling (getting ready to fall) or even sitting filling out an application some times sitting for any length of time takes its toll on me. I see you said you had a spinal fusion done what is that and a pain pump what is that if you don't mind me asking you these questions? My heart goes out to you on the spinal leak you had. I'm assuming you had a spinal tap done? Those are the worst. I suffered a whole week with debilitating spinal headaches to where I to had to get a blood patch done just to get relief. Sorry if I talked your ear off here lol. It's just nice to have someone to talk to that truly understands what I'm going through because your going through it to so thanks :)
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